Arvidsson and Dlouhy win Midd SL Races
It was a pretty normal day today at the 96th annual Middlebury College Winter Carnival.
You might be thinking: This is a lame way to start a news brief. And you're right. But, in a season with so many exceptional external circumstances (including, but not limited to, frigid weather, a cancelled Carnival race, frigid weather, a downed ski lift, and frigid weather), that’s fine by me. The weather was average (mid-30s, snow flurries), the race conditions were average (packed powder), and the skiing was aver— well, the skiing was above average, as it always is in the EISA. *wink*
Racers were treated to a fresh site atop the Middlebury Snow Bowl’s Ross trail today. Perched high on the towering start ramp was a gleaming sky-blue start house. The structure was installed this year in memory of Middlebury alumnus Paul ‘Rat’ Reed with the support of his family. The building is a welcome addition to the facilities here at the Bowl.
After the first day of racing, Dartmouth leads the overall standings (Nordic and alpine, combined) with 458 points, just 10 points ahead of host Middlebury College (448). UVM is in third place with 397, and Williams College is fourth (293).
The Middlebury squad had an especially notable day. Performing well in front of a home crowd? The type of thing collegiate dreams are made of. Midd finished with two athletes atop the podium: Erik Arvidsson won the men’s race outright, and Lucia Bailey took third in the women's race, leading a run of three panthers in the top-10.
Middlebury Head Coach Stever Bartlett was pleased and a little bit relieved at the team's results.
“The home hill is always that weird thing where everybody gets jitters and you want to get to the finish,” Bartlett said. “Definitely we had a couple of guys that had that. But to have the girls — all of them really rip — was awesome.”
“The last couple of years have been a little tough on the slalom hill for us,” Bartlett continued. “Mistakes, and really tight. Just not skiing that well. So this is a great result on this hill. Best result in four or five years, at least.”
Dartmouth College’s Alexa Dlouhy won the women’s race, matching her performance from the UVM Carnival a couple of weeks ago. Her winning time of 1:43.69 was more than 1.5 seconds ahead of the next finisher: teammate Patricia Mangan (1:45.24).
The battle for third place was extremely tight. Places 3-4-5-6 all finished within .12 seconds of each other. Middlebury's Bailey won out with a time of 1:45.46, just .05 seconds ahead of Colby’s Sandra Schoepke (4th; 1:45.51), who was .01 ahead of UNH’s Emma Woodhouse (5th; 1:45.52), who was .06 ahead of Middlebury's Caroline Bartlett (1:45.58)! Fierce competition today.
In the men’s race, UVM’s Patrick McConville took second in the SL for the second week in a row. He finished in a combined time of 1:38.51, a little more than half-a-second behind Middlebury’s Arvidsson (1:37.84). Plymouth State University’s Karl Kuus (1:38.63) claimed a spot on the podium for the first time this season by taking third today.
PSU Head Coach Geoff Ouellette was relieved that Kuus skied so well today. He hopes the finish might have helped him qualify for next month’s NCAA Championships.
“I’m pretty excited,” Ouellette said. “[Kuus] has had a couple of top-five [first] runs [this season], and bad luck second run. Yeah, this punched his ticket. This should get him into NCAAs, I’m pretty sure."
Kuus was followed by Dartmouth’s Kalle Wagner, who skied to fourth place in 1:39.12, just .03 seconds ahead of teammate Drew Duffy (5th; 1:39.15). Saint Michael’s College’s Guillaume Grand was sandwiched between two Big Green skiers: he took sixth place in 1:39.20, followed by Dartmouth’s Kipling Weisel and James Ferry, who tied for seventh: 1:39.28.
Tomorrow we switch over to the Allen trail for the GS races.
See you there!